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In a third cave, located in the far south, curtainlike calcite formations were decorated in shades of scarlet.Although nothing of the artists themselves remains to establish their identity, archaeologists have long assumed cave painting was the sole purview of had the cognitive sophistication needed to develop symbolic behavior, including art. Now dates obtained for the images in these three Spanish caves could put that enduring notion to rest.The other galleries of the cave contain a variety of black-painted and engraved figures.In many cases the creator of the images exploited the natural contours of the rock surface to add a three-dimensional quality to the work.
These images were executed in a vivid bichrome of red and black, and some also have violet tones.
In recent years, however, evidence for Neandertal symbolic behavior has been accumulating from sites throughout Europe.
In Gibraltar a Neandertal engraved a hashtag symbol in the bedrock of a cave.
The team dated dozens of paintings from caves in Spain and found several that were rather older than previously thought.
One image, a red disk in El Castillo cave, was found to have a minimum age of 40,800 years—old enough to possibly be the work of a Neandertal, and almost too old to be a modern human creation.
In Spain, they made shell jewelry and mixed sparkly paint that they may have used as a kind of cosmetic.